The Lavereen Stud, founded in Goorambat in 1920 by Graeme Trewin’s grandfather, James T Martin, is one of the oldest continuing on the same property across Australia, being currently run by Graeme’s son Matthew. Graeme took over the running of the stud when he was barely 18 years old, when his father, Tom, entered Parliament. At this time, harvesters drawn by Clydesdale horses were commonly used, with only a few people moving to motorised farm equipment. The last working draught horses in the area belonged to the Todd family.
The name ‘Lavereen Stud’ came from Ireland – Graeme’s 3 x great grandmother, Mary Devitt, migrated to Australia in the mid-1850’s leaving behind her family home known as ‘Lavereen’ in County Clare, Ireland. John and Caroline Trewin (nee Cooper) moved to Goorambat in a bullock wagon in the late spring of 1877, along with their 6-year old son Herbert, settling east of the northern end of where the Goorambat township was to be. They constructed a dwelling of galvanised iron and palings on their 194-acre piece of leased land, naming it “Hillside” and extending their acreage in 1891. Caroline’s parents owned an adjoining property to the north – “Watch Hill”
Many of the Trewin family horses have since won prestigious prizes, including at Royal Melbourne Show to which the horses were transported by train each year from Goorambat.
Thomas Campion Trewin MP
Tom Trewin was one of Goorambat’s ‘famous sons’. Born in Goorambat in 1914 to a farmer father, Perce, and a schoolteacher mother, Ellen, he first attended Goorambat State School with his twin brother (also Perce), then left Benalla High School at 14 to commence work as a share farmer. He married May Martin, daughter of another local Clydesdale breeder, in 1940, before entering Parliament as the local National Party member for Benalla in 1961 where he remained until his retirement in 1982. He was known as an extremely hardworking and popular MP who was liked by everyone across the parties, and throughout his career remained a Rotarian, a member of the Lions Club, and Vice-President of the Benalla Agricultural & Pastoral Society, as well as Vice-President of the North Eastern district council of the Victorian Wheat & Woolgrowers Association, a member of the rural fire brigade, and served on a number of school councils. On top of this he was a keen sportsman, being president of Benalla Football Club and President of the Benalla & District Cricket Association for over 20 years and was referred to as “Benalla’s Mr. Cricket”! In fact, the Tom Trewin Stand in Benalla rose garden was named after him. He also had a lifelong interest in the Anglican Church, acting as church warden and representative on the church synod.
In parliament he was the Nationals’ inaugural spokesperson on agriculture, achieved having water storages constructed throughout North East Victoria, and was associated with legislation to establish the wheat stabilisation scheme and to improve systems for wool and livestock marketing.
Most importantly to the Goorambat community was his passion for breeding and showing Clydesdale horses, and he became an authority on them. After marrying May they merged two studs, and became the oldest surviving Clydesdale stud in Australia. It was noted that in his parliamentary speeches it was very rare to find one which did not include a reference to these magnificent beasts.
He passed away in 1992 and is buried in Devenish Cemetery, and it is said that the funeral procession was so long that the last cars were leaving Benalla as the hearse arrived at the cemetery, nearly 25km away.